Vespering – heading west or flying towards the sunset; singing vesper hymns or songs.
‘Farmers in limbo’: Water permit decision disappoints – Hamish MacLean:
A disappointed Otago farming sector says it has been left in the lurch by the Environment Court’s interim decision on the Otago Regional Council’s water permits plan change.
The court decision said interim consents to replace expiring water permits should be limited to a term of six years.
Otago Federated Farmers president Mark Patterson said as a result farmers would have trouble getting financial backing for supporting infrastructure due to the uncertainty short-term consents created.
‘‘The farmers are going to be left in absolute limbo,’’ he said. . .
Can Fonterra finally focus on adding value to milk – please – Nikki Mandow:
Fonterra has been talking up value-add as a way to add value for shareholders for a decade, to little effect. Could this time be any different? Business editor Nikki Mandow pores over a decade of Fonterra annual reports.
“We have clear aspirations,” trumpets Fonterra in its 2016 annual report, alongside a soft-focus photo of a nice-looking cream cake. “By 2023, our foodservice operations [a jewel in the Fonterra value-add crown] will be a $5 billion business, supplying over five billion LME [liquid milk equivalent] of dairy products to customers around the world.”
How Fonterra’s foodstuffs business was going to grow from a less than $2 billion operation to $5 billion wasn’t at all clear in that 2016 report, but who cared? There would be New Zealand mozzarella for the world’s pizza chefs, butter for the bakers, cream for the cake makers, and money for the farmers and shareholders. Hurrah!
Except it didn’t happen. . .
Flowers for mental health – Jessica Marshall:
United Flower Growers (UFG) have teamed up with florists across New Zealand and the NZ Peony Society to campaign for mental health funds.
The Peonies with a Purpose campaign for 2021 will see $1 from purchases of bouquets of Peonies made at selected retailers go to the Mental Health Foundation.
“We have teamed up with a number of influencers to help spread the word,” says a spokesperson for UFG.
“Looking after the mental health of Kiwis is important to us and anything we can do to support this amazing cause with our beautiful blooms, we are happy to do so,” they told Rural News. . .
Document designed to save key data – Alice Scott:
A series of life experiences have come to fruition for a North Otago farming mother.
The result has been a one-of-a-kind online business, one which she hopes, might at the very least start a “what if” conversation for those in the rural sector.
Mother-of-two Paige Wills farms sheep and deer with her husband Richard in the Waitaki Valley.
She recently launched a business called My Peace of Mind; a comprehensive in-case-of-emergency document designed to help people organise all their essential information in case someone experiences an illness, injury or death so their family will have all the important information clearly laid out and all in one place. . .
Congratulations to Ben McNab, Assistant Winemaker at Palliser in Martinborough, who came became the 2021 Tonnellerie de Mercurey North Island Young Winemaker of the Year. The competition was held on 27th October at EIT in Hawke’s Bay.
As the 2020 winner of the North Island competition Ben says “Defending the title added a bit more pressure so I was very relieved to come out on top again this year, especially as the calibre of the other contestants was so high.” He is thrilled to go through to the National Final and looking forward to competing against Jordan Moores from Valli and Peter Russell from Matua as he knows them both quite well. “It’s going to be a great competition. It will be tough, but with a real buzz. I can’t wait!”
Congratulations also goes to Kaitlin Bond from Indevin in Gisborne who came second and to Douw Grobler from Trinity Hill in Hawke’s Bay who came third. . .
Birch Hill Station’s proximity to Wellington means it offers an exciting range of options from its traditional pastoral sheep and beef base.
The 1,579ha (1,320ha effective) property sits only 10 minutes southeast of Martinborough in picturesque southern Wairarapa, offering a good mix of flat, rolling and steeper country that includes some attractive terraced land.
Bayleys Wairarapa salesperson Lindsay Watts says properties of Birch Hill’s expanse and quality are rare to the market, typically held intergenerationally by families.
Treating the station as his own, long-time manager Stuart Ross has overseen a high standard of farming, with exceptional land stewardship and stock. . .
Sunday’s soapbox is yours to use as you will – within the bounds of decency and absence of defamation. You’re welcome to look back or forward, discuss issues of the moment, to pontificate, ponder or point us to something of interest, to educate, elucidate or entertain, amuse, bemuse or simply muse but not to abuse.
Never underestimate the incompetence of government. – James Cook
Flarch – to flatter or be a flatterer or smooth talker,
Farmers are not climate villains – Sam McIvor:
Methane measurement doesn’t truly reflect its global warming properties.
Agriculture is not being let off the hook when it comes to climate change says Sam McIvor, chief executive, Beef + Lamb New Zealand in this opinion piece.
We often hear agriculture is responsible for 48 per cent of New Zealand’s annual greenhouse gas emissions and that agriculture is being “let off the hook” by the methane reduction targets in the Zero Carbon Act. The first point is misleading and the second one is plain wrong.
To see why, all you have to do is look at the science on methane in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC’s) latest report.
There is a whole section on methane, which is vital to the discussion we are having in New Zealand, and it makes it clear there is a fundamental difference between emissions and warming. . .
Irrigation-innovation combination a winner – Tim Cronshaw:
A young couple are in the early days of ambitious plans for an irrigated North Canterbury farm, writes Tim Cronshaw.
Angus Aitken admits he often needs to resist the temptation to experiment.
With a background in financial analysis, and a strong interest in technology, he finds himself gravitating towards innovation.
‘‘I’m guilty of that but I’m quite conscious of that as we have a business to run and we’ve got to make sure we’re profitable. We’ve gone through a development phase and this financial year is about showing what it can do. The experimentation is at a smaller level and trying to add value to the property and secure yield.’’ . .
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Tupu Angitu Ltd, the commercial arm of the Lake Taupō Forest Trust, and NZ Bio Forestry Ltd have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding that they hope will increase the value of the forestry estate and create new regional jobs. And they plan to achieve this on a zero-carbon footprint.
“The Trust owns a sustainable forestry estate,” says Temuera Hall, the Chair of Tupu Angitu. “It controls over 33,700 hectares on behalf of its 14,000 Ngāti Tūwharetoa owners of which 28% is conserved in its natural state. Tupu Angitu is focused on diversifying our asset base and integrating throughout the forestry value chain.”
Hall also notes that Ngāti Tūwharetoa is a co-owner of the 170,000 hectares forestry estate in Kaingaroa, one of the largest production forests in the Southern Hemisphere.
NZ Bio Forestry has made it a priority to work with Māori in support of the forestry sector. “Forests are so much more than just structure and fibre,” says NZ Bio Forestry CEO Wayne Mulligan. . .
Tauranga-based company’s natural pharmaceutical products to hit shelves in all 50 US states
Kiwi natural pharmaceutical company, TRG Natural Pharmaceuticals (formerly HoneyLab), will see its products sold across all 50 states in the US as part of its licencing deal with Taro Pharmaceuticals. This deal is a key contributor to TRG’s 10-20 fold increase in sales this year.
Launched under the brand Bee RX, the range includes topical kānuka honey based cold sore, acne, and rosacea treatments. First launched online at Target, the first drop of product sold out within hours. Bee RX will also be sold in major pharmacy chains, in total representing more than 21,000 stores and giving TRG a strong foothold across every state in the US.
The brand is being fronted by Golden Globe and Emmy nominated actress and singer, Mandy Moore, well-known for the TV show ‘This is Us,’ and Erika Thompson of Texas Bee Works is the Bee RX ambassador. . .
Australia’s continuing threat of shearer and shed hand shortages is one of the reasons existing AWI board director Don Macdonald is seeking re-election.
It’s on top of his list of “unfinished business”, he said.
“I stood because I felt there were some issues that needed addressing,” woolgrower and wool broker Mr Macdonald said.
“Amongst other concerns, one of my main concerns was that if we don’t modernise, we won’t get the next generation of farmers wanting to run Merino sheep.” . .
How will the tens of thousands people losing the MIQueue lottery feel about this?
A loophole in the troubled MIQ has been identified after an email was sent out by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise three days ago.
The door’s being opened for up to a dozen people to come back to New Zealand and stay in managed isolation if they book for lunch or dinner at the New Zealand Pavilion at the Dubai Expo.
They don’t have to begin their journey in New Zealand, they can travel from other countries to Dubai, they don’t even need to be engaged in the Expo nor do they need to have any commercial activity in Dubai.
They have to be an export customer which most of us are likely to be.
They have to return to New Zealand on an Emirates flight leaving on November the 21st. . .
How will the people desperately trying to win a spot in the MIQueue lottery feel about this?
Just one guest stayed at the Grand Mercure managed isolation hotel in Wellington last week, where dozens of staff were working.
The person was involved in an emergency medical evacuation.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Managed Isolation and Quarantine confirmed the 102-room hotel had just one guest between October 21 and October 28.
It meant 88 isolation rooms went empty over that period, as well as 13 quarantine rooms.
Up to 50 staff were still working at the facility during that time, looking after the single guest.
“Other guests have not been staying at this facility to maintain the cohorting system between incoming and arriving guests,” the statement said. . .
Tens of thousands of New Zealanders are stuck overseas wanting to come home.
Some have lost their jobs and with them visas making them effectively stateless.
Some are desperate to get back for births and deaths.
Some are elderly at risk of losing their pensions if they don’t get back in time.
Then there are New Zealanders who need to go overseas for business or personal visits but can’t leave while they can’t get a space in MIQ that will allow them to come back.
There are families who have been apart for months with some here and others stuck abroad. This includes a two year-old who has been separated from his parents for 17 weeks.
And there are essential workers whose skills and experience we desperately need who keep losing in the MIQueue lottery.
How will they be feeling about the hotel with only one occupant and the loophole that enabled a lucky dozen to come home via the Dubai expo?
They will be justifiably angry.
MIQ might have worked at the start but it’s no longer fit for purpose and the delay in allowing double vaccinated travellers who test negative at both ends of their journeys will give them little if any comfort.
Saturday’s soapbox is yours to use as you will – within the bounds of decency and absence of defamation. You’re welcome to look back or forward, discuss issues of the moment, to pontificate, ponder or point us to something of interest, to educate, elucidate or entertain, amuse, bemuse or simply muse but not to abuse.
Incompetence is the true crisis. – Albert Einstein
Stiffrump – an obstinate and haughty individual who refuses to budge no matter what.
The Government’s proposal to reduce future international tourism visitor numbers post-COVID to concentrate on higher spending visitors may solve one problem but create others.
Research by Lincoln University’s Dr Rob Radics, Dr Muhammad Umar, and Associate Professor Anthony Brien, highlighted that most of our agricultural products delivered fresh to market are transported on passenger planes, and tourists contribute to the cost.
The drop in tourism numbers could push up transport costs to the point some businesses do not export at all and are put out of business.
Their work showed that before COVID-19 hit, there were 550 international flights into and out of New Zealand each week, which carried 80% of New Zealand’s overall export airfreight in their belly-holds, and that it was worth $10.8 billion in December 2019. . .
A fillip for farmers from Fonterra’s milk-payment forecast – Point of Order:
In a timely boost to the rural regions, Fonterra has raised its forecast milk payment to farmers for this season to match its previous record high of 8.45kg/MS, as demand for dairy holds up while supply tightens.
The giant co-operative lifted and narrowed its forecast farmgate milk price range for the 2021/22 season to between $7.90 and $8.90kg/MS from the initial $7.25 to $8.75 kgMS.
The midpoint of the range on which farmers are paid increased to $8.40 kg/MS, from $8 last season. That would match the previous record, paid in the 2013/14 season, and would result in almost $13bn flowing into regional New Zealand.
The country is heading into its peak milk production period in late spring and output so far is below last season, constrained by poor weather and limits on expansion. Milk production is also soft elsewhere, because of poor weather and high feed costs. . .
Major changes are looming for the forestry sector as the deluge of raw log exports fades amid dwindling supplies and demands increase from the building industry and other users.
An industry report by investment house Forsyth Barr suggests the mainstay of the industry, log exports, will peak and then drop by more than a third within a decade.
“Export volumes will peak by 2026 then decline as insufficient planting activity after the 1990s boom means total harvest volumes will fall,” report author and head of research Andy Bowley said.
“The use of wood domestically is undergoing a transformation through the use of trees to sequester carbon, power boilers and as a low carbon building material alternative.” . .
Farmers’ hard work in leading New Zealand’s export-led recovery from COVID-19 is being rewarded with high prices forecast for milk and very strong returns for meat, says Trade and Export Growth and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor.
Fonterra announced today a record predicted milk price of $7.90 to $8.90 for the coming season. The mid-point of $8.40 would match the previous record set in 2014. The announcement follows continuing high demand for NZ-grown meat.
“Our farmers and growers have been working hard maintaining their volumes and together, through the COVID response, we’ve been able to keep supply chains ticking and freight links open,” said Damien O’Connor.
“The resilience of all export sectors is vital to our ongoing economic strength. Just as we aim to have diversified export markets, we’re also focussed on growing all our export sectors.” . .
Westpac NZ and Pāmu have signed New Zealand’s most comprehensive Sustainability-Linked Loan to date, also the largest in the agricultural sector, and the first involving a state-owned enterprise.
Pāmu, also known as Landcorp, is New Zealand’s biggest farming business. It will borrow $85m from Westpac NZ over three years. To incentivise continued improvement in sustainability performance, Pāmu will receive a pricing discount from Westpac NZ if it meets material and ambitious performance targets and pay higher interest costs if it fails to reach them.
It is the first Sustainability-Linked Loan in the agricultural sector to include a 1.5-degree Science-Based emissions reduction target that will be validated against global best practice. . .
Finistere Ventures and Innovation Endeavors today revealed the first five companies selected for the Farm2050 Nutrient Technology Trialing Platform, a dual-hemisphere agritech testing and validation platform. The Farm2050 Nutrient Trialing Platform aims to identify, validate and demonstrate at scale promising technologies in nutrient management and water contamination reduction across broad acre crops, horticulture and pasture-based dairy in collaboration with agritech investors, farmers, researchers and startup companies around the globe.
The innovators chosen for the first wave of trials in New Zealand include:
– ClimateAi, which uses AI to tackle climate risk across the food supply chain
– CropX, an established farm management platform with soil sensing and nitrogen monitoring solutions. .
Mike Graham, Laura Dodsworth and Russell Quirk at Talk Radio UK awarded Jacinda Ardern Plank of the Week:
You can watch the whole programme here.
Yesterday’s announcement of the prospect of shorter stays in MIQ will give little comfort to those enduring the MIQueue misery.
The Government’s changes to the cruel MIQ system are a start but they need to go much further and much more quickly, says National’s Covid spokesperson Chris Bishop.
“As I revealed last week, fully vaccinated travellers to New Zealand, with a negative pre-departure test, pose negligible risk.
“Just two fully vaccinated travellers out of 20,000 or so people who have been through MIQ since August 23 have tested positive on day eight or later, indicating MIQ could be reduced immediately to seven days without any real risk.
“While fully vaccinated travellers with no Covid have been spending 14 days in MIQ, more than 200 people with Covid have been isolating at home in Auckland.
Even if only those travellers who could self-isolate in that city where the disease is already widespread in the community, were permitted to do so, it would relieve some of the MIQueue pressure.
“The tragedy is that these changes could and should have happened much sooner. The Government only started recording the vaccination status of people arriving into MIQ from August 23. Why didn’t this happen sooner? The Government has never given an adequate explanation as to why it didn’t bother to collect the data earlier than August 23.
“If we had the data from vaccinated travellers in April or May, potentially tens of thousands more people could have come safely through the border much earlier than now.
“The Government’s changes should also go much further. This is about the bare minimum that the Government could have done, and it won’t help Kiwis offshore desperate to return home. The stories of human misery and hardship that populate the inboxes of Members of Parliament are harrowing. The sooner we can end this lottery of human misery, the better.
“We need to quickly move to a situation where fully vaccinated travellers from low-risk jurisdictions do not have to isolate at all, assuming they have a negative pre-departure and post-arrival test. National would introduce this once New Zealand is at 85 per cent fully vaccinated, which is only weeks away. This would mean thousands of travellers from places such as Queensland could be home for Christmas.
“National’s ‘Opening Up’ Plan also calls for travellers from medium-risk locations, such as parts of the US, the UK and some states of Australia, to be allowed to skip MIQ and isolate at home for seven days.
“It’s time we reopened to the world. We can’t remain shut behind the walls of Fortress New Zealand. Today’s news is a good start, but there is so much more to do.”
Halving the time people are required to stay in MIQ will free up some rooms – but many of them will be taken up with people from the community who have been diagnosed with Covid-19 so the change won’t do much to improve the changes of the tens of thousands of people forced to take their chances with the MIQueue lottery.
That includes business people, one of whom, challenged the government in court:
A High Court judge has ordered the government to take a second look at an Auckland richlister’s bid to bypass the MIQ system by self-isolating at his gated home following a high-stakes business meeting in the pandemic-ravaged United States.
Justice Geoffrey Venning issued the brief ruling from the bench on Thursday. He is expected to issue a full written ruling on Friday. . .
Bolton, who is 73 and has received both Covid-19 jabs, sought a judicial review after the Ministry for Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) rejected his MIQ exemption application. The landmark case argues that the system unreasonably limits citizens’ freedom of movement and breaches the Bill of Rights Act.
Part of his proposal was to take a private jet to and from the United States so as to reduce his risk of being exposed to Covid-19. Upon return, he and his partner would stay at their gated home in the swank Auckland suburb Herne Bay for two weeks – the same amount of time people are required to stay at MIQ facilities, if they’re lucky enough to get a spot – and submit to all testing requirements.
High-profile lawyer John Billington QC argued that his client would be more likely to catch Covid-19 if in an MIQ facility rather than following his own proposed plan. The Crown, however, argued that the biggest risk would be attending the board meeting in Boston. . .
Would the risk at the board meeting be very different from that of buying groceries or any of the other activities permitted in ‘pandemic-ravaged’ Auckland?
The government has made us fearful, boasting of the months of freedom we enjoyed while others were locked down last year, but unwilling to loosen control to enable us to enjoy some of the freedom those overseas have now.
The fact is that people are living with Covid offshore and although some people, perhaps many, rightly remain cautious, life has largely returned to normal in many places. But that is not what we are being told here in New Zealand.
The erosion of our freedom of choice, freedom of speech and the loss of precious time with family and friends and all the other negative aspects of a lockdown should be balanced against the health risk of Covid. Imagine if we had invested the 1 billion plus spent each week on lockdowns on improving our health system, education or roading (we had 8 road deaths in NZ last weekend).
It seems totally insane that double vaccinated people are terrified of meeting unvaccinated people. Is that how it’s going to be for the rest of our lives? What about the people that have health issues and can’t get vaccinated? Are they going to be banished from society? (for the record I’m double vaccinated).
Finally the fact that the NZ government has now said that even if Auckland achieves 90% double vaccination that it’s people may likely still be restricted from traveling at Christmas seems like a total nonsense. (For those overseas people reading this, Auckland already has 93% first dose and 82% second dose vaccinated – the entire country has 87% first dose and 72% double dosed).
It’s also total nonsense and contradictory that double vaccinated people that have negative covid tests are being locked down for 14 days in MIQ whilst people with Covid are being allowed to self isolate in the community.
How New Zealand, a country where it’s people greatly valued freedom off choice…..how we even got to this stage of blindly accepting this sort of unilateral rule, power and dictatorship from our government is deeply troubling indeed.
Fear was part of what got us here – fear of the disease, fear of overwhelming the health system, fear of death.
As more of us get vaccinated, as many people with Covid-19 are at home rather than in MIQ or hospital, and with better treatments for the disease available, is that fear justified or has it become an overused political weapon?
Quinie – a boisterous, impudent, or disreputable woman; a corner stone; the external angle formed by the junction of two walls; a stone forming such an angle.
Southland boosted by UK free trade, sets up NZ for EU talks – Blair Jackson:
An in-principle free trade agreement with the UK is good news for Southland and positions New Zealand for negotiations with the EU, a sheep and beef farmer says.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced an in-principle agreement with the UK on Thursday, which will entirely remove tariffs on most goods produced in New Zealand.
It is expected to boost exports by 40 per cent, and lift New Zealand’s gross domestic product by $970 million.
Sheep and beef export quota volumes will increase over time, with all tariffs eliminated after 15 years. . .
Canterbury will be home to the first large-scale producer of truffles south of the equator with 37,500 trees expected to produce double the current yield of the entire southern hemisphere.
In a secret four-year operation, the NZ Truffle Company has set up nurseries and greenhouses at a small farm near Rangiora run by the company’s two shareholders, Catherine and Matthew Dwan, before planting a 75-hectare truffle plantation near Darfield.
The entire crop, worth between $2500 and $3000 per kilogram, will be exported to lucrative Asian and European luxury food markets.
In a statement, the company said financial returns per kilogram were expected to be between seven and 86 times that of any other New Zealand crop. . .
Couple touting picking strawberries as fun family outing – Jared Morgan:
From bulls to berries — they are polar opposites but Ben and Rebecca Trotter are hoping they attract.
For the past three years, the couple have farmed 135ha at the junction of State Highways 6 and 8A at Luggate 11km from Wanaka.
Their focus, until now, has been farming Friesian bulls, while working their day jobs — Mr Trotter specialising in grass seed as South Island manager for Agricom, Mrs Trotter as a lower South Island territory agribusiness manager for Genesis Energy.
Added to the mix are the couple’s two children, Florence (2) and Edward (8 months). . .
Farming changes through generations on Lindisvale family property – Marjorie Cook:
The Trevathan family has been farming at Lindisvale, near Tarras, since 1914. Marjorie Cook meets fifth-generation Trevathan, Maggie (6 months) and chats with her dad, Jonny, and grandparents Beau and Ann about farming changes over five generations.
Eight years after Jonny Trevathan was sent home from a Masterchef competition for burning a pork chop, the irrepressible Tarras farmer is still confidently farming and cooking for his family.
He was relieved to quit Auckland and return to life on Lindisvale farm in the Ardgour Valley.
‘‘I just did that for s…s and giggles,’’ he confessed. . .
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CWA supports quad bike changes – Stephanie Stanhope:
Change isn’t always easy, but sometimes it is necessary; especially when lives, livelihoods and communities are involved.
Most readers would be aware of the new requirements relating to quad bike measures that have kicked in as of the October 11.
There are new rules in place that will improve quad bike safety through the provision of more consumer information outlining warnings for operators.
The design of new quad bikes will also need to be improved from a handling perspective. . .
The government has given up on persuasion and is forcing its Three Waters reforms on us:
National understands the Government will force the Three Waters asset grab on councils and centralise local, ratepayer-owned water services, National’s Local Government spokesperson Christopher Luxon says.
“The Government will introduce a bill mandating their model, which would require every council to join one of the four proposed mega water entities and hand over control of their Three Waters assets.
“This move is tantamount to state-sanctioned theft of assets that ratepayers have paid for decades to own.
“Labour’s four-entity model is fundamentally broken.
“It will create needless bureaucracy, strip away local control, and put distance between communities and decision-makers. Water services will be controlled by a complex smorgasbord of unelected appointees and officials.
“Ratepayer-owned water assets will be bundled into these mega entities with virtually no accountability. The governance structure will be messy and confused.
“By forcing the Three Waters plans on councils, Labour would be expressly ignoring every mayor who pleaded for a pause, and the over 55,000 people who signed National’s petition calling for the plans to be dumped.
“National has feared this outcome for months.
“First, the Government tried a $4 million scare campaign of inaccurate cartoon ads, followed by a $2.5 billion slush fund to buy council support.
“Then Minister Mahuta took to Parliament to patronise councils, insult their intelligence, and preach the apparent virtues of an ‘all-in’ legislated approach forcing every council to surrender their water assets.
“Today’s announcement shows that all of the Minister’s earlier comments about ‘partnership’ were hollow, and her reassurances that councils could continue to opt-out were completely false.
“At a time when we need enduring, collaborative relationships between councils and the Crown, Labour’s legacy will be eroding trust and goodwill, and setting central and local government relations back by years, if not decades.
“National opposes the Three Waters asset grab. If Labour rams its plan through, we have committed to repealing the entity model when we form the next government in 2023 and returning seized water assets to councils.
“We’ll continue to fight Labour’s centralisation and control agenda. It’s vital we keep the ‘local’ in local government.”
Federated Farmers has serious concerns:
Rural residents concerned about the future of their water, sewerage and stormwater infrastructure should gear up to have their say, Federated Farmers President Andrew Hoggard says.
“Federated Farmers, a majority of local authorities and many New Zealanders have voiced serious misgivings over the government’s plans for council three waters assets to be transferred to four new mega entities.
“We remain opposed to this plan. The government’s announcement today that this will be mandatory is a huge call,” Andrew said.
Local Government Minister Nania Mahuta has said a working group of local government, iwi and water industry experts will be set up to work through design of how the new entities will operate.
“This group will have its work cut out to allay a multitude of concerns,” Andrew said.
“Top of the list for Federated Farmers are issues around governance and accountability. The complexity of rural water scheme ownership and operations has got rural people worried.
“How will the new entities ensure the needs of smaller and rural communities are not crowded out when setting investment priorities and plans?
“The proposed arms-length governance arrangements with directors appointed by panel, which are in turn appointed by yet another panel, weaken the accountability of water service entities to communities,” Andrew said.
There are also serious questions around the robustness of the government’s estimates of savings and benefits from moving to the new arrangements.
“The select committee process, and the public consultation that Minister Mahuta has promised, needs to be rigorous.
“Federated Farmers has already said this is cart before the horse stuff. We’re also in the middle of resource management reform and examination of the future of local government. The government has yet to convincingly demonstrate adequate planning and thought has gone into how the water services reforms integrate with these two very significant processes.” . .
Don Brash says a government that imposes this is a dictatorship:
A Government that ignores reasoned opposition from local government by imposing 50/50 iwi-council co-governance through its Three Waters Plan is yet another step closer to a dictatorship.
Three Waters is the Government’s plan to establish four publicly-owned entities to take responsibility for drinking water, wastewater and stormwater from local councils.
Today, Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta confirmed that the Government will force its Three Waters reforms on local councils after it was first pitched as voluntary .
Imposing a plan to give tribal representatives equal say with 67 councils over New Zealand water is outrageous.
Embedding 50/50 co-governance between councils and iwi who claim to represent 17 percent of the population is a major step towards creating a society in which everyone has to check their ancestry to work out their political rights.
Today’s imposition of the Three Waters Plan is a big step towards implementing the He Puapua Plan, which involves two governments under tribal control, one for Maori by Maori and the other a fully bicultural version of what we already have.
The forced introduction of Three Waters initially followed the prescription outlined in the He Puapua plan, which involved consultation with iwi groups first, then propaganda to soften up everyone else.
The frightening aspect of today’s imposition is that when councils expressed concern about asset confiscation and substandard representation, the Ardern Government went ahead and imposed it anyway.
This is an outrageous decision, and will cost the Government votes at the next election.
Timaru District Mayor Nigel Bowen has today expressed extreme disappointment with the Government’s decision to mandate its Three Waters reform.
Mayor Nigel Bowen said that today’s announcement is a sad shift away from the principles of local ownership and accountability.
New Zealand’s social wellbeing should be underpinned by high-quality drinking water and reliable and safe wastewater and stormwater systems.
“We and our predecessor councils have invested strongly in our local water services over the past century on behalf of residents and we’re proud of our record,” he said.
“Timaru District has some of the best drinking water in the country, wastewater is properly treated and discharged, and stormwater systems are resilient.
“We remain committed to continual investment in our services to ensure that residents have the services they need and industry has the water it requires to grow.
“While we support the overall aim of the reform, we don’t think that the Government’s chosen model will deliver these aims.
Few if any would argue against the aim of a sustainable way to ensure we all have clean water but there’s almost universal opposition to the government’s method of achieving that.
“We also support the right of our communities to hold us accountable – in fact, we think it’s crucial.
“When a pipe bursts in someone’s street or a stormwater drain is blocked, our residents know who to call. And if we don’t fix the problem then our residents also know who to blame.
“Our biggest issue with the reform is that it confiscates the accountability that all residents should be able to demand from their local authorities.
“After listening to the overwhelming response from our communities who don’t want local control taken away, we cannot in good faith support this model.
“However, we know that to make change, we have to have a seat at the table. In that regard, we are pleased to see the Government acknowledge the fundamental flaws with its reform, and intend to work with them to see if our concerns can be remedied.
“With the establishment of the working group, we hope that the Department of Internal Affairs forms an honest and open working relationship with Local Government rather than the opaque and seemingly predetermined exercise we’ve seen so far.”
“For the good of our community we have the expectation that the promised changes will be meaningful and deliver real local representation for people, rather than just be another PR exercise dictated by Wellington.
“Ownership in name only is a disservice to our residents and we hope genuine changes can be made to the reform for the benefit of all New Zealanders.”
Marlborough District Council is similarly unimpressed:
“My reaction is one of great disappointment at the Government’s decision to make the Three Waters reform mandatory, as announced by Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta this morning.”
“The Minister has stated the status quo is not sustainable and the case for reform is compelling. If this is the position why has there been no meaningful public engagement in the roll out of the reform proposals?”
“We provided the Government with constructive feedback on the reform proposal during the eight week period to 30 September 2021, as did other councils around the country.”
“In just three weeks the Government has analysed the feedback from 67 councils, leading many to the conclusion that the decision to mandate it had been predetermined.”
“The mandatory ‘all in’ approach to this reform will be a bitter pill to swallow for many in our community, judging by the feedback I have received over the past two months.”
“The Department of Internal Affairs has also confirmed that the boundary for Entity C and Entity D will be the Ngāi Tahu takiwā boundary but that water assets in South Marlborough will be ‘managed’ by Entity C. What is the logic in this?”
“We have been offered a few crumbs to address the widespread concern over the loss of local democratic influence and control, but it seems most of the decision has been largely taken away from our communities. In my view, this is a step too far.”
“However, the fight to exert a greater level of local control is not over – there will be two public submission and select committee processes over the next two years as the Water Services Entities Bill and Water Services Entities (Implementation) Bills progress through Parliament. There is a long way to go on this yet.”
The government says this will save money?
How can it when it’s establishing a new and expensive bureaucracy?
And how will they pay for it?
They won’t be able to do it by rates as councils do. The only way they can do it is by metering.
Metering is user-pays and I’m not opposed to that in principle.
I am opposed to it being done by a body over which the public has no control and I am opposed to it being done in a way that means people in areas where councils have kept up their repairs, maintenance and replacement of water infrastructure will be subsidising those whose councils haven’t.
This is a gift to Groundswell which is planning the Mother of All Protests :
Groundswell NZ’s ‘Mother of all Protests’ will go ahead next month even if there are still Covid-19 restrictions in some parts of the country.
Groundswell NZ leader Bryce McKenzie said after the Covid-19 announcement from Jacinda Ardern on Friday, the group met online and decided to go ahead with the nationwide protest against some Government regulations, which the group says are unworkable for farmers.
“We’re going ahead. We’ve had an overwhelming response from our co-ordinators up and down the country. All we ask is that people stick to the rules, and stick to their own vehicles.’’
“If everyone does what they’re meant to do, there should be no problems,’’ he said.
The group wants freshwater improvement to be managed by catchment groups, and rules about significant natural areas and the ‘ute tax’ to be re-written or abolished. . .
Support for Groundswell’s Howl of a Protest was far greater than expected.
Support for next month’s protest had been lukewarm but the government’s decision to force councils to give up their assets and replace local control with a bloated and undemocratic bureaucracy will fire up a wide cross section of people and give them the opportunity to show just how strongly they feel about this abuse of power.
One of the messages they will be sending is this:
Predial – relating to land, or its products, or the cultivation of land; a predial slave.